This image from a glass plate negative produced between 1906 and 1910 shows a busy scene at Circular Quay, Sydney Cove. Seven ferries are coming in or are berthed at the Quay. There are four passenger liners, two on either side of Sydney Cove and one other obscured. There are also trams and hansom cabs on the Alfred Street roadway while various commercial horse-drawn delivery wagons and wagonettes can also be seen.
At the No.7 ferry wharf on the left, one of Joubert's ferries awaits its next run up the Lane Cove River. On the other side, (No.6), the Parramatta River ferry, 'Bronzewing' (1899-1931), is waiting for patrons. At No. 5 wharf the ferry, 'Kummulla' (1902-1934), is frothing to a stop, while the larger ferry, 'Koree' (1902-1934), is coming in from Milsons Point to wharf 4. Another ferry is almost into wharf 3 while the Manly ferry, 'Binngarra', is lining up for her Sydney berth.
In the right foreground is the roof of the Paragon Hotel, complete with a large electrically-lit sign. The Fort Macquarie tram depot can be seen on Bennelong Point in the distance on the eastern shore of Sydney Cove, now the site of the Sydney Opera House. Alongside, at the tip of the point, is one of the newer P & O liners. Behind her is one of the competing Orient liners showing the yellow ochre colour of the funnels which the company began to use in 1906.
Graeme Andrews OAM, Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences volunteer under the supervision of Margaret Simpson, Curator, December 2015
This photographic negative was published by the Sydney firm Charles Kerry & Co. and is part of the Powerhouse Museum's Tyrrell collection which contains over 2,900 glass plate negatives by Kerry & Co. Although a few appear to be from the 1880s most were produced between 1892 and 1917. Over this period, and well into the early 1900s, prints from these negatives appeared in many Australian publications and albums of views. In 1903 the company began producing postcards from these negatives, further establishing the images as some of the most significant and best known early views of New South Wales.
Some of the more significant themes covered by the collection include; views of New South Wales, Queensland, country towns, Sydney, Indigenous Australians, the South Pacific, rural life, native flora and fauna, and sentimental views. In addition a number of significant events from the 1900s are covered by the collection including; embarkation of troops for the Boer War, Hordens fire, the Inauguration of the Commonwealth in 1901, the arrival of the Great White Fleet and the Burns verses Johnson boxing match at Rushcutters Bay in 1908.
Geoff Barker, Curatorial, January, 2009
Newton, Gael, Shades of Light; Photography and Australia 1839 - 1988, Australian National Gallery, Canberra, 1988
David, Millar, Charles Kerry's Federation Australia, Sydney, David Ell Press, 1981
Tyrrell, James, Australian Aboriginal and South Sea Islands Implements, Weapons and Curios, James Tyrrell, Sydney, 1929